Is Phillip Tanner Someone to Watch in Fantasy?
DeMarco Murray is out for at least a week, and possibly longer, due to his second lower leg injury in two years. Felix Jones steps in, but has an checkered injury history of his own. Should Dallas Cowboys fans and fantasy owners start looking past these two players and start thinking about Phillip Tanner? It might not be such a silly idea.
Murray is said to already be targeting a week eight return, but given the sketchy injury history of him and Jones, it might not be too crazy for people to start thinking a little into the future.
After all, Tanner looked plenty good in spot-duty against the Baltimore Ravens in week six, as he piled up 11 touches for 51 total yards. Jones gave way to Tanner as the game wore on due to leg cramping, just another sign of what could happen down the road.
Tanner isn’t the explosive burner Murray or Jones is, but he’s a tough runner who fights for every yard and certainly would bring value to the table should he find himself with a big rushing load in Dallas.
The nice thing here is that Dallas had their hand forced and we’ve already seen that he can grind out the tough yards when necessary. His inclusion in the passing game (two receptions) displayed some decent versatility, as well. In addition, he ran for 76 yards and a touchdown in 2011, further showing some nice ability. It’s a small sample size, to be sure, but the Cowboys are committed to running the ball, and Tanner looks more than up to the challenge if he ends up being thrust into a big role.
I’m a DeMarco Murray fan. He runs with a Adrian Peterson-type fearlessness, but as fun as fun as he is to watch, that style of play can and has proven to lead to injuries. Coming from a guy who couldn’t ever stay healthy in college and has now twice been bitten by the injury bug, that could be some ugly foreshadowing.
And Jones has already been broadcast to the fantasy nation as an injury risk. He’s still young and immensely talented, but he’s played just one full season in his career, and is constantly dealing with some nagging injury. He had his rookie season halted at six games, and has missed another six games over the past three years.
Jones is the guy you want for week seven and Murray is hopefully your man for the long-term in 2012. But stashing Tanner in the event that two injury-prone backs go down has the potential of being the one of the best moves you make all season.
* photo credit – fantasyfootballchallenge.com